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Pre-patch DPS Spec Log Analysis: Shadow Priests and BM Hunters Rejoice

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Update 2: We're losing top performers left and right, as Unholy DKs also got a nerfs since the stats were logged! Read more about the changes here.

Update 1: it seems Windwalkers' positions on the chart were due to a bug, and you can read more about it here.


The WarcraftLogs are in for the first day of Ny'alotha pre-patch raiding, and we thought we'd take a look at how the specs were doing in this new environment, both from a focused pre-patch only perspective, and looking forward into Shadowlands tuning. We tapped two of our experts, Publik and Impakt, to analyze these very early stats.

    Publik will give us an overview focusing on the pre-patch period itself:

    After a bit of a rocky start with server stability we are starting to see early logs come in to check out how certain DPS classes are doing in the Shadowlands Prepatch. Certain specs like Shadow Priest received very large changes, while others are simply enjoying the last few weeks of the borrowed power from Battle for Azeroth.


    Looking at a few of the percentile metrics on WarcraftLogs you can see that overall Beast Mastery Hunters and Unholy Death Knights are both doing quite well right now, although it is still early data. Unholy specifically is seeing some dramatic scaling after their changes going into prepatch, especially since they still have access to the Magus of the Dead Magus of the Dead Azerite Trait.


    As you start to climb the percentile bracket you’ll see better Shadow Priest performance as they are enjoying playing basically a brand new spec after all the changes. As if having bountiful secondary stats wasn’t already great for Shadow Priests, one of their Azerite Traits, Spiteful Apparitions Spiteful Apparitions, is contributing to a very large amount of their damage post-rework of Shadowy Apparitions Shadowy Apparitions.

    One thing that stands out regardless of percentile is the overwhelming favor towards ranged specs during prepatch. Outside of a few outliers like Arcane Mage or Demonology Warlock, all ranged specs are generally in the top half of specs with most of them even being top third percentiles. Definitely keep an eye on things if you are interested, as more data comes in we’ll see things shift even more, things are still very early!

    Prepatch is always an exciting time to try out new classes and specs, and this time is no different. Several specs might be playing a little funky right now due to missing interactions they will get at future levels, or lacking their favorite Covenant ability, but nonetheless it is a fun time to play World of Warcraft. If you are curious about trying a new spec check out the Icy Veins class guides to see how to get started in the Shadowlands Prepatch.

    And now we move to Impakt, who take a broader look at the stats, with a view towards Shadowlands spec balance:

    The numbers and tuning everyone is seeing now, for the most part, is meaningless and you should not put too much stock into it looking towards Shadowlands. Every spec’s performance right now is in large part due to Azerite traits and Essences, which of course are all going away once we step into Shadowlands. There are a couple of key specs worth highlighting however, specifically Shadow Priest and BM hunter. While there are a few others, these two specifically have a solid design at a base level, without all the extra Shadowlands systems implemented on top of them, which is partially why they are doing so well now. Many of the specs are designed around Covenant abilities and legendaries, which is why you should not get worried over seeing a spec perform poorly right now.

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    Don't worry, Blizzard will soon nerf those top hitters. They sure don't like Shadow Priests, Affliction Warlocks and Balance Druids overperforming.

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    So these are Pre-Patch logs but the important question is: Have they used their Azeritegear? A lot of classes do benefit massively by that and once they lose the traits they become a lot less powerful.

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    This is too soon for me to make conclusion.For example nobody is playing demonology... If you look closely, you will see that there are only 4 demonologists in MM and some of them are clearly here for no reason (less than 110 ilvl, only 70 dps) and they don't even kill N'zoth.
    So wait :)

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    Wasn't there some bug with some BM only hunter pets holding on to their abilities after training them ? Wonder did that affect the damage logs here.

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    SV Hunter was never fun since they nerfed Serpent Sting in late MoP, let alone changing it entirely. SS used to do damage immediately before the first tick, then they nerfed it, no more instant damage when hit. Since then, it's nearly at the bottom of the DPS chart just a little above S priest. Now they completely changed it. it's boring to play.

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    16 hours ago, Unholyknight said:

    SV Hunter was never fun since they nerfed Serpent Sting in late MoP, let alone changing it entirely. SS used to do damage immediately before the first tick, then they nerfed it, no more instant damage when hit. Since then, it's nearly at the bottom of the DPS chart just a little above S priest. Now they completely changed it. it's boring to play.

    except it was the top hunter spec during (at least part of) WoD, so it wasnt "stuck to the bottom" until the melee facelift in Legion (after that,100% agreed its undertuned at the very least)

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